I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (08 March 2014)

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Top picks

*Fascinating* piece on the creation, fall & reinvention of the female condom, by Emily Anthes.  And big congrats to Mosaic—a new science magazine from the Wellcome Trust—on their launch. I’ve got a piece coming out there in a few weeks.

Johnson & Johnson removed formaldehyde from shampoos. It’s an empty gesture, caving into chemophobia. By Tara Haelle.

“It’s the first time that we can see water drops all around the world.” Megan Garber on NASA’s ambiitous new project

“To look an elephant in the face is to gaze upon genius.” Ferris Jabr on fine form.

Alok Jha got stranded in Antarctic waters and turned in this *spectacularly* written story.

What does it take to make a bit of Earth completely devoid of life? Great piece by Rachel Nuwer.

The “state-of-the-art” bionic limbs you keep reading about are often not what amputees need. Great piece by Rose Eveleth.

“You won’t find much about the theft of Haydn or Mozart or Goya’s skulls in their biographies.” Also by Rose Eveleth, who’s on a roll this week.

“Down there, we are tiny”: Alexis Madrigal’s deep dive into deep diving

Solid overview of the continuing puzzle of epigenetic inheritance, by Virginia Hughes

AWESOME. Iron Man-style Exosuit will let scientists personally explore the deep sea (although it’s more Michelin Man than Iron Man)

Not a lot of space out there for wild mammals.

This is a wonderful piece by Robert Krulwich about what it’s like to be touched by art.

When thinking about science communication, look to the arts & humanities rather than science itself. By Ben Lillie.

I love the NYT most when it lets Natalie Angier cut loose about something fascinating. Like trilobites.


“It’s the poetry of fusion that draws us in,” says Eliza Strickland, drawing us in with poetry about fusion.

Exactly how important are wolves? Interesting debate, by Emma Marris.

Some parasites don’t steal food or proteins, but information.

Humans shaped forests 11,000 years ago, says new study of plant pollen

X-o-grams: beautiful X-ray art

Handbags at dawn over dawn of humans.

A sorry tale of misleading claims and legal threats involving genetic ancestry business BritainsDNA

It’s A Bad Week To Be A Crocodilian

Wind turbines can induce lightning to go the other way, into the sky.

Wotta rotter! Otter attacks and eats alligator.

The First Woman to Get a Ph.D. in Computer Science From MIT

Are repressed memories real? 20+ yrs later, the memory wars wage on. By Virginia Hughes.

The team behind the recent, controversial, hard-to-reproduce stem cell papers have released a 10-pg tipsheet.

Ugh. A weak paper on protein and cancer led to a slew of daft news stories. New Scientist, at last, called out the crap right from the headline.

Newly identified dinosaur fauna sheds light on evolution

Cool climate project; ludicrous to call it citizen science. If I lent batteries to NASA, I wouldn’t be a “ciitzen astronaut”

“”We decided to do something a little different,” says Keffler about the octopus wrestling.”

Very cool map shows how the time in the sky differs from the time on the clock.

Incredible HD Video of Earth From Space Brings Maps to Life

The Uncanny Valley: interior design edition

Brazil is clamping down on fossil trafficking, but will that help or hinder palaeontology?

The spotted wren-babbler is not a wren, a babbler, or a wren-babbler. It IS spotted though, and perched alone on the evolutionary tree.

When you strap a GoPro camera to a Pelican’s beak, you realize that their head is amazingly stable during flight

Incredible video footage of an erupting volcano on Io, a moon of Jupiter

Venter talks about beating ageing and diseases through lots and lots of sequencing. 2001 called and wants its news back, Craig.

Ancient viruses in petrified poo

MySciCareer: collecting 1st-person stories about the grand diversity of sci careers.

Hoarding has taken on full-fledged disorder status in the DSMV handbook.”

I could sum up this 4,400-word Pacific Stand piece on culture & disease in just two: “ecological fallacy”.

On grouping and randomness. Love this cartoon by Maki Naro.

Frickin’ MIND LASERS. Device activates heat-sensitive neural pathways involved in courtship, makes flies flirty.

Nick Pyenson to Redditor: “You’ve found a ~14-11 million year old fossil whale vertebra!”


Siberian virus not at all like ‘The Thing’ say weirdly glassy-eyed scientists http://t.co/H0j4WUpn4x

Gorgeous aerial videos of reindeer being herded.

Mesmeric hand-cranked wooden automaton that mimics the effect of a raindrop hitting water.

A random generator for vacuous op/eds about millenials, drawn from actual vacuous op/eds.

A handy infographic of Shakespeare deaths.

A sad story about two lines.

This BBC Future space graphic shows the true size of the Solar System.

Acronym FTW!

“You know what happens when you assume…”

Ars Technica have created a Bitcoin-like currency called Arscoin. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

This, inadvertently, was the most accurate headline to come out of this week’s protein/cancer failstorm.


TED now allows speakers to upload sources, citations & backing info for their talks. I will be doing this.

Good analysis of the Newsweek/Nakamoto/bitcoin story, by Felix Salmon.

A hole in the world. Norway’s memorial to honour the victims of the Utoeya shooting is profound, moving, beautiful.

Working for yourself–or for a startup–seems no riskier than a traditional gig.” Great piece on the diminishing charm of legacy institutions for young journalists

This looks like an awful way to read books, but the 500wpm thing is *fascinating*.

“What is it about a huge barrel that makes you want to climb in or on it?”

NYT corrects a 161-year-old story